The ministry of the Word indeed begins in the pulpit, but then it must continue through the life of the church as members echo God’s Word back and forth to one another. The word reverberates, as in an echo chamber. In a real echo chamber, sound reverberates off walls. In the church, it’s the hearts of people that both absorb and project the sounds of His effectual Word.
As Tim Lane explains: “The ministry of the Word doesn’t stop with the preaching; it continues throughout the church. The discipling ministry, the children’s ministry, the youth ministry, the missions work, the worship ministry, the friendships and families – all of this operates on the same page by being Word oriented and Christ centered. Elders and deacons are taking the Word into their work. Parents are learning to bring the gospel into how they train their kids. Husbands and wives are thinking about the centrality of the gospel as they relate to one another. And the list goes on and on.”
Hearing Tim’s words, I couldn’t help but think of reverberating words. Picture it this way. The evangelist or the preacher opens his mouth and utters a word, God’s Word. But the Word doesn’t just sound once. It echoes or reverberates. It reverberates through the church’s music and prayers. It reverberates through the conversations between elders and members, members and guests, older Christians and younger ones. God’s words bounce around the life of the church, like the metal ball in a pinball machine.
But the reverberating words shouldn’t stop there. The church building doors should open and God’s words should echo out the doors, down the street, and into the members’ homes and workplaces. The reverberations of sound that began in the pulpit should eventually be bouncing off the walls in dining rooms, kitchens, and children’s bedrooms; off gymnasium walls, cubicle dividers, and the inside of city bus windows; through emails, text messages, and internet pages.
Copied from pages 24-25 of Jonathan Leeman’s new book Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People.